Crusader Kiran ‘strong’ enough to win

kiraandarvinNEW DELHI: The BJP’s decision to field ex-IPS officer and anti-corruption crusader Kiran Bedi as a potential CM candidate for the New Delhi elections, has been widely hailed as a coup.

 

However has the decision brought up another sticking point in the BJP-RSS equation?

Bedi’s clean image and her work as the Delhi police commissioner, and later the prisons chief, effectively neutralises the personality cult of Arvind Kejriwal, who is giving the BJP more than a few headaches in the national capital.

She also fits the image of a ‘strong’ CM candidate for the BJP, which was struggling to project a candidate after Harsh Vardhan was inducted into the union cabinet.

There has been no official word that Bedi will be Delhi’s Chief Minister should the BJP come to power, and she has also been extremely coy about it in public.

In an interview with the Hindustan Times shortly after she officially joined the BJP, Bedi was careful to reiterate that she would only follow the orders of the BJP leadership.

In response to a question on whether she would contest against Kejriwal she said: “I will not contest against anyone. It is for the party to decide. I will do as they say. I will not choose my constituency. I will contest from wherever the party asks me to”.

And this could well be because of reports that the RSS is unhappy with the portrayal of Bedi as a potential CM.

Meanwhile  Times of India (TOI) reported that “sources in the organization told TOI that Mohan Bhagwat on Friday gave a clear-cut hint that he was glad that a woman of Kiran Bedi’s stature and calibre has been brought into the BJP fold.

“However, he took strong exception to the hurried and immediate portrayal of her as the chief ministerial candidate of the party.”

However an Indian Express report said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had “suggested during a 15-minute interaction that if the party gained power in Delhi after the  February 7 elections, Bedi would be picked as Chief Minister”.

While Bedi was always vocally supportive of the BJP and its Modi, an attempt to project her as a potential chief minister in the 2013 was met with opposition from state party leaders, who had called her an ‘outsider’.

But this time around, the offer to Bedi had been made by the upper echelons of the party, with Arun Jaitley acting as the main mover and shaker, according to this report in the Indian Express.

The decision had been made by Amit Shah and Modi, adds the report, noting that “until the meeting at Jaitley’s house on Thursday, BJP’s Delhi leaders had no knowledge of the discussions involving Bedi”.

“At 2pm that day, the BJP’s media cell was asked to organise a press conference to announce the development” sources added.

Meanwhile the TOI report notes that a message had been rushed to Bhagwati, who is attending a three day conference, that the BJP had not made any such announcement official or unofficial and it was only a speculation propagated by the media.  – Excerpt from firstpost.com

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